Obscure Sports and Spots

In honor of the Olympics, I attended a profession soccer match this weekend – a sport that I’ve had little interest in previously and one that I still profess little knowledge.  The invitation to see Liverpool v. Tottenham came from my brother-in-law. Fortunately, his heckles from stands provided the most entertainment. The soccer players in the exhibition game put in less effort, wilting in the same heat that forced me to abandon my perch in the metal stands and take refuge in the shade of the concession area.  I watched more than half of the game on the TV screens there, finding the breeze and the commentators more enjoyable.

To round out the day of sitting, in traffic and in the stands, we set off into the soul of D.C. for dinner, ending at the National Cathedral and Cleveland Park.  After waiting a few minutes for a table at 2Amy’s, we settled into the bar area to devour whole pizzas.  Instead of taking up valuable seating for dessert, we ventured across the street to Sweet Stuff for delicious ice cream.  This we carried to the cathedral, which lit up under a stormy sky.  The structure was closed for the day, so we walked the grounds to admire the construction, particularly in the grotesque details of the gargoyles.  I spotted a flying pig or boar, but missed the Darth Vader that guards one of the towers, so now I’m determined to go back to pay more attention.


A Dog’s Day in Annapolis

Sitting at the State House in Annapolis

Since reading this 2011 Washingtonian great days trips article about Annapolis, I wanted to visit the bayside city with or without the dog. We left her at home to enjoy the AC on this sweltering Sunday and set off for the hour-long journey with our navigation system set on the Naval Academy.  A boat broken down on the side of the highway just inside Anne Arundel county confirmed that we were headed the right direction, and we spotted more boats and the corresponding amount of water as soon as we reached the city.

With it’s expansive campus, the academy turned out to be an easy place to find, as was the statehouse, with it’s rotunda.  We parked on College Avenue, directly in front of St. John’s College, choosing this as our second target only after we couldn’t find substantially shaded parking in other areas.  After a short walk down Maryland Avenue, we located the Annapolis bookstore, which still looks like the picture in the magazine and greets browsers with tempting air condition and cold drinks.  The stores along Main Street offered equally inviting cool air, with at least every third storefront declaring delicious ice cream or a collection of souvenirs.  At least half of these featured crab.

Annapolis Bookstore

We selected Acme for lunch, next door to the storied Chick and Ruth’s Delly, which had already drawn a crowd for brunch and boasted a giant milkshake as a challenge, then toured the museum and the statehouse grounds, driving past the congressional buildings our on way out of town, but not without a few more stops.  Though I had never visit Annapolis before, my husband spent his first three years there, and the family had found memories of old houses and signature tastes.  They more than recommended Mike’s Crab House; they required that we stop there and bring back a fresh souvenir to the table.

Hiking in the Heat

We ventured back to our favorite hike this weekend – the Billy Goat Trail.  The now familiar terrain makes for a challenging morning run, with some rock scaling, and we did our best to beat the 11 a.m. heat advisory, but only barely.  We started on the trail at 8:30, completed the C and B loops and connected to the Great Falls trails via the canal path.  This provided a mix of semi-level gravel surfaces, with the narrow branch-filled hilly trails that are a little more challenging.  In the end, we hiked over seven miles, draining two Camelbak water bags in the process (between the three of us, because we pack water for the dog as well.)  In addition, we have a towel, extra water bottles, and a change of clothes in the car so we can cool of as quickly as possible.  For the dog, this meant take a long drink, then collapsing in the shady back seat of the car.



A Change in the Currency

Today I encountered an older man waiting for the bus, Subway sandwich in hand, clutching a dollar bill the way that only paper money can be held.  No matter how many times we wrinkle it into our sweaty palms paper bills recoil back, a material reminder of how many germs it probably carries.  Needless to say, even in its current curl, the money would still be accepted by the bus meter.  With the new rates, he would need two dollar bills to pay the $1.80 fare.

“You could save money by using a SmartTrip card,” I offered.

“I prefer using cash,” he replied.

I inferred the rest of our conversation, starting with the premise that he didn’t believe in using cards.  But he must believe in them, because seeing is believing, and I had a SmarTrip card in my hand.  A better statement would be that he didn’t put value in the card, preferring instead the familiar currency of our forefathers, appropriate given the day-before celebration of our independence.

Our brief interchange brought up so many questions though, starting with the usefulness and over-use of cash, the idea that one-day we will all use cards or smartphones to make payments, and the encompassing recession and inflation that will challenge our worth as well.  For more information on the cost of riding the metro or on these other topics, see the sites below:

WMATA Fares in Washington D.C. and the reasons to use SmarTrip cards

Why Cash is Losing its Currency – as examined by CBS Sunday Morning

NBC Washington Reports that D.C. Cabs will Accept Credit Cards

Intermittent Storms (and Power)

We weathered the derecho, a type of storm that I hadn’t heard of until Friday, just a few hours before it struck the city of D.C.  We lost power in our apartment with the first wind gust and watched the subsequent lightning flashes in total darkness. Our power stayed off overnight, so we slept late and ventured out around noon to access the damage.  The building and car remained unscathed, though tree limbs littered the streets and sidewalks.  Starbucks up the street still had power and fresh coffee, as did the Safeway and other restaurants.  We decided to charge our cell phones in the car and enjoy the AC, which we got even more time in as we tried to find a navigable road out of the city.  By mid-afternoon, Canal Road still had large trees blocking several lanes.  Fortunately, we also had power again.  It’s been off  since then, but always returns by evening, and we hope our neighbors across the city regain their electricity soon.